February 11, 2016
Apologies for this VERY tardy race report. I’ve had a particularly busy holiday season and then busy January, but I’m looking forward to getting back on track with blogging and documenting. But, it’s almost like a Throwback Thursday to publish this now. First in the chute is my race report for the Tannenbaum 10k which was held on Sunday, December 6, 2015.
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The Tannenbaum 10k is a local race organized by the Toronto Beaches Runners Club in the “Beach” neighbourhood of Toronto. The Tannenbaum 10k in 2010 was my very first 10k race. I did it again in 2012, and I’m happy to be back again as a pacer, or “Pacer Elf.”
Normally I’m super-prepared for races, but it didn’t quite come together this time. First of all, I returned from a 10-day cruise through Panama, Aruba, Costa Rica, Columbia, and Jamaica less than 18 hours before the race, so I was in a bit of temperature shock. I had laid out my running gear before going on the trip, but used very little of that gear and opted for heavier clothing. In fact, I decided to go with two layers of gloves because I wasn’t ready for the temperature change.
Driving to the race, I was a few minutes behind what I expected. But finding parking was an event in itself! The last time I ran this race I got parking right beside the start pavilion. This time I had to circle around a lot to find a space several blocks away. I’m glad I had the wherewithal to take a picture of the nearest roadsigns or I wouldn’t have found my car.
When I got to the start area I briefly saw Patty who was also pacing, and she directed me to race kit pickup. It was indoors which was nice, and they seemed well-organized. Along with my bib they gave me my pacer sign and “Elf Hat.” The hat had built in bells that would jingle with every step.
It was also a pleasant surprise to see my friend Kim who also runs at the Square One Running Room. I didn’t know he was doing this race! We could have carpooled!
I got my bib on and settled into the spot in the start corral where I though 70 minute should be. To my horror, I realized that in my rush from parking I forgot my paceband in my car. With only about 10 minutes before the starting gun went off I knew I didn’t have enough time to head back to my car. I frantically went to the Running Room’s website to look up my walk-adjusted race time (6:41 min/km).
Around that time a lot of people started lining up in the corrals. I met Sarah who was the 70 minute continuous pacer. We realized we would be passing each other constantly throughout the race. And I met a lot of people who wanted to run at this pace. In particular I remember a 70-year-old lady who was really nervous because this was her first 10k. I celebratingly told her that she was guaranteed a PB today!
There was some other amusing banter near the start of the race. Someone said: “There’s the Pace Bunny” then she corrected herself and said “Pacer Elf.” I said I was okay with all sorts of names, especially since I was a “Pace Fairy” a few summers ago.
And shortly after the race started I was in a conversation with a couple of people who were talking about the Egg Nog Jog that was the week after Tannenbaum. A gentleman said that he hoped there would be egg nog at the end of the race, and that he may want to spice up the egg nog, if you know what I mean. I joked that there seem to be two kinds of runners: Those that run and drink beer, and those that eat kale religiously. We mused that someone brewing a Kale Beer would corner the market. (Side note: Dude, if we market that together we’ll split the profits!)
As for the race itself, there were many more people than I remember. Back in 2010 a lot of the pre- and post-race festivities were held in the nearby Beaches Running Room which was rather cozy. In 2012 there were a few hundred people. This year there were close to 1000! But, fortunately it never felt too crowded; runners seeded themselves quite appropriately and I never felt any bottlenecks, even at the start of the race!
I thought it was really nice that the event shared the race photos for free. They are posted to a Flickr account.
It was kind of funny running by Beaches Park and seeing the sandy beach. Less than 2 days before I was on a sandy beach in Jamaica which was a VERY different climate than Toronto’s beach.
Shortly after the race started I pulled away from Sarah which was natural because I had to go a little faster than her because of my scheduled walk breaks. A few people commented they thought I was going too fast in the first kilometer because I briefly passed the 65-minute continuous pacer. I know that technically shouldn’t have happened because her pace should have been 6:30 min/km and my walk-adjusted pace was 6:41 min/km. After my first walk break both the 65-minute and 70-minute continuous pacers passed me, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
I took off my jacket around the 3km mark. Even though it was colder than the Caribbean, I still warmed up really fast.
There was one crowded point right before we got onto the Leslie Spit: At that point there were runners going out and back on a single roadway lane, so we almost had to be single file and that made it tricky for me to pass people to stay at my prescribed pace. On the way back at the same point there wasn’t anyone else going out, so the returning runners had the whole lane.
I was running with a fairly big group until the 4km point. Around that point a lot of runners sped up. I don’t blame them. I guess they were just counting on me to hold them back until they got to about half-way.
In the final half it got a little lonely. There was one lady and her brother-in-law that were pacing with me for a while, but they fell behind.
A nice feature of this course is that you can see the finish line from about a mile away. That’s reassuring, but it also plays with your mind. You kind of have to think that whether it really will take you almost 10 minutes to run to that point you can clearly see ahead.
In the last stretch I was doing some mental gymnastics to determine how close I was to my required pace. About 400 meters from the finish line, Sarah passed me one more time when I was doing my last walk break. Doing some quick mental math I determined I should technically finish with Sarah, so I sped up a lot so that I’d finish right beside her. In retrospect, that little sprint may have been a little too much because I was 12 seconds early.
I was pleasantly surprised I was in enough shape to get through this race at the correct time. I was a little embarrassed how seemingly unprepared I was for the whole race, but still managed to get it all to work out.
There was a contest by the race organizers for which Run Club/Crew would have the best presence. A couple hours after the race, The Beaches Running Club jokingly posted that they declared the winner was themselves, the Beaches Running Club. They later redacted that and awarded it to BlackToe.
A great feature of this race is the toques. I still wear that hat almost every day throughout the winter. On the Monday after the race, someone even recognized the hat because they had also done the race.
Thank you again to Dave Emilio, the Beaches Running Club, organizers, and volunteers for another great event!